Ben Hwang, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Profusa, Inc.
Most of us only get a once-a-year peek at what’s happing inside our body when we visit our doctor. Yet the most valuable and important information comes from having a ‘conversation’ with your body — specifically your body chemistry — in order to make timely choices and action corrections when your body data is available in real time and when it matters.
But what if there was a simpler and more direct way of knowing how you are doing…how you are really doing? For the person with diabetes, a way to end the monotony and discomfort of daily finger pricks to manage their blood glucose. For the clinical lab patient, a less painful and more efficient way to get their blood tested and results shared with their doctor. For the performance athlete and active person alike, a better way to understand your body’s ability to utilize oxygen and other metabolites as a measure of health and cardiovascular fitness.
Profusa’s mission is to make our body’s chemistry easily accessible to improve health and wellness. We are dedicated to becoming a leader in the development of injectable, real-time biosensors that empower the individual with the ability to monitor their unique body chemistry in unprecedented ways to transform the management of personal health and disease.
Measuring 3mm-5mm in length, and 500 microns in diameter, our biosensor is injected using a standard hypodermic needle. Once implanted, the hydrogel-based biosensor forms a porous, tissue-integrated scaffold that induces capillary and cellular in-growth from surrounding tissue. The gel is linked to a light-emitting molecule that continuously signals the presence of oxygen, glucose, or other biomarkers.
Designed to provide live streaming of clinical-grade data, the biosensor helps us to better understand our body in two critical ways: first, it can directly measure a key body chemical (e.g., glucose), rather than the physical parameter of a fitness tracker — such as how many steps you took today. Secondly, the data stream is continuous in nature, and therefore, real-time. This enables one to apply immediate behaviors that can alter the body’s biochemical state.
So, for example, if I had a real-time glucose sensor in my body and it tells me my glucose level is trending to an unhealthy state when I have my favorite salad, I may take that information and either eat less of that salad or not. The data from my biosensor travels to the surface of the skin where a reader captures them. Results can be uploaded to a smart phone and the Internet for an encrypted personal record and historical tracking.
Profusa’s biosensors will have many applications for consumer health and wellness, as well as the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and peripheral artery disease (PAD), which results in narrowing of blood vessels and reduced blood flow to the lower limbs. Our first clinical offering, the Lumee Oxygen Sensing System™, is designed to monitor dissolved tissue oxygen to ensure proper wound healing during the treatment of PAD, Pending CE Mark, the Lumee system is slated to be available in Europe in 2016 for use by vascular surgeons and wound-healing specialists.
These and other applications of Profusa’s biosensors have the potential to dramatically change healthcare by paving the way for decentralization of healthcare delivery, and shifting the focus away from reactive diagnosis and treatment to preventative health.